Washington, D.C. – CNN today released a video showing President Donald J. Trump meeting in Dubai with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin in February, 2016 to plan Russia’s interference in the U.S. election on Trump’s behalf, and to agree on concrete steps Trump would take in return to help the Russian leader. The video, which has been independently authenticated, also shows Putin tousling Trump’s hair, and the U.S. president speaking fluent Russian.
Opponents of Trump expressed elation about the video. “This is the silver bullet we’ve been waiting for,” said one Democratic member of Congress who chose to speak on background for the sheer hell of it. “Obviously, Congressional Republicans will now have no choice but to impeach the president.”
However, at a press conference, House Speaker Paul Ryan declined to comment on the video. “I’m not here to talk about the president. What the American people care about is the tax relief package that House Republicans are putting together. Tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts I’m going to keep saying tax cuts until you stop asking about Trump tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts.” Speaker Ryan continued repeating “tax cuts” for several minutes, until the press finally gave up and left.
Messages from the White House were mixed. Spokesperson Sean Spicer conceded the video’s legitimacy but denied that it contradicted any previous claims from the president. “President Trump has always said that he was working closely with Vladimir Putin to win the U.S. election and save the civilized world from barbarians. Period.”
In contrast, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway insisted that the video is a fabrication. “The video is not real, because nothing is real. Reality is an illusion.”
Polls taken in the days following the video’s release indicate that while the president’s disapproval ratings have reached new lows among the general public, he continues to enjoy strong support from Republican voters. It is highly unlikely Republicans in the House would move to impeach the president so long as that remains true. I know it’s weird for the New York Times to make a prediction like that but come on. Impeachment is not a judicial process, it’s a political one.
One DNC official, speaking on background, doubted that the video is the silver bullet the president’s critics have been waiting for like a child waits for Santa. “I just don’t know if a video proving he colluded with the Russians is going to do it. What we really need is a video where he brags about sexually assaulting women – there’s no way he could survive that, right?”
President Trump has not yet commented on the new video. Instead, his tweets have focused on two recent administration initiatives. His executive order giving ICE the authority to indefinitely detain anyone who disrespects them, or whose name sounds funny, or for any other reason. And, his stated intention to “make sure that in the 2018, we don’t have millions of fraudulent votes for the Democrat Party like we did in 2016.”